Small projects for gifts

I finally found my sewing room again at the end of last week.  Yes, just a few days before Christmas, I managed to steal some time for myself and just play around a little.

You might remember in a previous post I mentioned having the Queen Bees for a holiday luncheon and a card making session.  Well, one of those lovely Queen Bee members left a little gift behind for me.  I was delighted to find a pretty set of coasters.

15 Minute Coaster

The coasters were made following a pattern found at Cool Cottons  .  The pattern was familiar, because the Queen Bees had done this for a project at one of the bees in 2016, and during our guild luncheon in early December, everyone was given a little “kit” of fabric squares and the directions.  My friend Dee, was so sweet to sew a set and give them to me.  How did she know that I never “got around” to making some for myself.  (I might have said something about that during the luncheon, as we were seated next to each other!)  I remember that bee pretty well.  We had a new member who was “learning” to use a rotary cutter and ruler, and I spent my time assisting her.  I think my “test coaster” is still in the bottom of a busy box somewhere.  Anyway, I love these bright cheery colors, and they inspired me to get busy and make some for gifts.  I did another “test coaster” with the kit we got at the luncheon, and now the hubby  has a cheery coaster on his hobby desk.

I deviated slightly from the pattern.  I used 5″ squares.  I also top stitched.  (I like that they lay a bit flatter when they are top stitched).  I used a charm pack of 5″ Christmas fabric squares, and then I went diving into my “scrap storage system” for more 5″ squares.  I also dug into the scrap bin for more holiday fabrics.    All said and done, I made 8 sets of 4 for gifts.

Six sets of coasters to gift

Two sets were already gifted before I got this photo taken!  I love all the fun fabrics!  I did 2 sets in spring fabrics.  Check out the backs –

Back of the coasters

The pattern is fairly easy to follow, but if you are like me, sometimes a visual tutorial is handy.  Today, I was browsing around on you-tube and found multiple “methods” for these type of coasters. Some use 1 additional piece of fabric, and they vary in size from 4 to 5″ squares as the basis for the coasters. Some don’t include batting, but I like a nice piece of batting inside to help with any moisture that might be on your glass.

One of the BEST tutorials on you – tube is with the Gourmet Quilter – Gourmet Quilter Tips and Techniques 002 

Susan Claire gives such good instructions, and if you are a “visual” learner, this is a good one to watch.

I found another tutorial on you tube that had some variety in the way the coasters were made, so take a look at this video if you want to up your “style” a little – Craft Genie Folded fabric coasters  . She starts you out with the style I made, but without batting.  Then she ventures off onto other “shapes” that are quite fun.  I hope you find her tutorial easy to follow also.

Post Christmas I was able to spend some time working with a panel that I was given.  My dear friend Nancy B. picked out a panel for me when she was on a shopping expedition in Lancaster PA.  I got busy and got it all cut up and made into a little story book for my youngest granddaughter.  I used my embroidery machine to make a cover for the book.

Around the world fabric book

A is for Amsterdam

Barcelona and Cairo

Back cover

and so forth.  There were a lot of pages!  Such cute designs for cities around the world.  More pictures can be found in my FLICKR album – Sewing for the Grandkids

As I was working with this panel, I was challenged by the “stamping” of the fabric.  Nothing on panels is ever square, so no matter how you “size” the piece, you might end up with a bit of white showing through. I didn’t want to cut off too much of the color so I went with the best possible size, and have touches of white peeking through.  I don’t think the not nearly 2 child will care too much.  This panel wasn’t designed to be made into a book, but that is what I chose to do with it.  I was challenged by “how to assemble” it, and decided today to make buttonholes on each page and thread ribbon thru the buttonholes.  I think the ribbon is securely knotted, and should hold up to the rigors of childhood.  If not, I can always “thread new ribbon”.  (I doubled it through the button holes so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  The pages are assembled with a square of quilt batting in between the pages.  It is completely washable, which I have learned, is a priority to my daughters!

I have several other panels out of the bins, waiting for me to get busy with them, and I think I might sew tomorrow afternoon too.  I get to babysit for the recipient of this book tomorrow for a bit, and will send the book home with her.

I am enjoying these little projects that have been set to the side for a very long time. In the back of my mind my list of UFO’s is sitting, waiting for me to tackle them…..one at a time.  Meanwhile, I have re-acquired the Second Time Around for the quilt guild, and have spent some time sorting through the donations. I think most of that is in good shape to take to guild on Jan 8th.

Of course, I still have over 40 boxes of stuff from my friend who moved to assisted living.  I have been taking bits and pieces to her at her new apartment, and know that she is wishing she had it all.  I’ve inventoried a dozen boxes, and labeled them.  We are trying to figure out a way to get together at the assisted living facility and sew.  I imagine making kits, already cut, for her will satisfy her for a bit. I tried to get the activities director to call me, as I would be willing to lead a small group at the facility.  Perhaps after the first of the year, she will call so we can come up with a plan!  If you have ever led a quilting group with “senior” senior citizens, please let me know what type of projects you worked on.

I hope you are able to stay warm where ever you are this night.  Our temps were down to 14 deg fahrenheit last night, and never got above 25 deg today.  Keeping my sewing room warm enough to work in out over the garage is tricky at best.

Happy stitching!

Busy December days

I know…when are you ever going to get back to the sewing room???  I keep asking myself that question! Have no fear, the weather is above 40 degrees today, and I might brave the winter temp and wander out.  It’s been downright cold around here, and I have had plenty to keep me busy!  (Note – this post is FULL of photos!!)  Grab a cup of your favorite warm beverage!

Snow on Dec 9 2017 Delaware

Two weeks of what I call “Quilt Guild Time”.  First Monday of the month was the guild meeting, and there was a board meeting on Thursday. The snow came on Friday.  (Thank goodness).

The program for the meeting was our annual holiday luncheon and show & tell.  Frankly, I had nothing “ready” to show, that I could wrap my head around. You see, we were coming off 2 weekends in a row of “model rail road club open house”, and I just could not think what to bring. Between an ear infection for me, and hubby coming down with a cold, and long days at the train club, I was just not ready.  Late Sunday evening I remembered that  I had to bring a dish of food to share, and was NOT ready for that either.  An early morning run to the local super market provided some wonderful frozen meatballs, and a few jars of marina sauce.  I popped those meatballs in the oven to heat, the marinara sauce in the microwave, heated up the crock pot, and in under an hour, had them ready to go, and I got out the door by 9 am.  (Note to self….keep those meatballs/sauce on hand for the next food crisis!).  Really, my own fault, as I took the hubby out to dinner on Sunday night with some friends for his birthday, and failed to prepare.   Anyway…the meatballs were a hit, only a few left at the bottom of a very empty crock pot, and nobody cared that I didn’t have a show & tell.  (PHEW….).  I did get to relax and have a little fun at the luncheon, and enjoyed visiting and conversations with members I don’t often get a chance to speak with at meetings.

The feeding continued following our monthly board meeting, where our host provided a delightful brunch.  This is a group of about 20, and again a delight to sit and visit during this busy month.  The snow arrived on Friday, and pretty much kept us at home through the weekend.  Somebody said we got 6″ of snow, heavy and wet.  Luckily the roads were still warm, and it did not stick around long.  Hubby and I spent the weekend finishing up decorating for Christmas.

2017 Christmas Tree

Took me all week to get the tree up and the lights on and the decorations on.  Hubby suffered quietly with a cold and emerged long enough to get the angel on top and some of the highest ornaments on.  Every year we decorate a little differently, and this year, the lights seem “dim” to me.  I realised after I was finished,  I only used half as many lights as last year.  (I think I was burnt out).  The LED bulbs are not as bright as the old fashion type either.

Tuesday I hosted the Queen Bees for a luncheon/Christmas party.   I decided that I would ask them to help with a card making project that Carole / From My Carolina Home    asked for help with.  On her Dec 8th post, she invited others to take part in making cards for a woman’s shelter.  So, when I asked my Queen Bee’s, they all agreed.  I put some supplies on the table, and they got busy!

An artistic group

Crafting and creating Queen Bees

They created 12 cards in just under an hour!  They used cardstock, punches, old greeting cards, stamps, pens, tape runners etc to create these cards.

Fun creations

Special cards made by the Queen Bees

More special cars

Holiday greeting cards

Greeting cards made by bee

Some of these women had never done any “paper crafting” of this sort before, but were eager to prepare cards with heartfelt messages inside.

Sentiment inside

We have so many talented women in this group, and I love the way this card was done inside.    We got the dozen cards out in the mail to Carole to meet her deadline.  I think the Queen Bees enjoyed the project, although it wasn’t quilting, it went for a very good purpose.  Two of the women in the Queen Bees knew about Carole’s project, because they follow her blog.

I got to follow-up a great lunch on Tuesday with the Queen Bees by attending another lunch with the Material Girls Bee on Wednesday.  It was hard to remember to take “small portions” but I did!!

The Queen Bees inspired me and I spent the rest of the week with my own card crafting. I had a birthday card to make and Christmas cards I wanted to do.  I was so inspired I made a trip to Michael’s Craft Store and purchased more “card blanks & envelopes” and treated myself to a heat gun and embossing powder.  I picked up a BUNCH more stamps at Tuesday Morning too.  More about those cards “next time”…as I want to give the recipients a chance to receive them before I spoil the surprise.  

I did make it to the garage on Sunday afternoon for a few hours.  I managed to help the hubby “move” a table back into “my area”, and do a little “cleaning up”  of patterns and files, and stuff.  I actually turned on my machine, and repaired the velcro and snaps on some baby items for my daughter. I wasted 30 minutes fighting with 1″ sticky back loop velcro before I threw it away, and got out the 3/4″ sew in loop velcro I had on hand. Not as wide as I wanted, but it will have to do.  I ended up throwing away a heavy-duty needle that was immediately gummed up too with that sticky back velcro.  GRRRR……..hate that stuff……

So, I am “ready to sew” my own stuff again after nearly 2 months out of my sewing room.  What to work on today?  ?  ?

What are you doing to get ready for Christmas?

 

 

Machine embroidery and applique

Promised my daughter I would make a couple of hooded bath towels for the youngest grandchild. She is growing so fast and those little hooded baby towels are just not big enough any more. My daughter asked for 2, and I chose the basic fluffy “white” bath towel and hand towel to use.

I found a great pattern/tutorial on “French Frills” embroidery website for making the hooded towel work with embroidery on the hood.  I’d done hooded towels before but they always had a seam at the center of the forehead.  French Frills offers the pattern as a free download, and you have to select 5×7 hoop size.  French Frills freebies page

They also have some cute designs to purchase. They have some very elaborate designs, and also offer SVG files for cutting the applique pieces.  They do offer some 4×4 designs, but not many.

Because my Brother PE500 is only capable of a 4×4 design, I was limited by design choices.  I knew I wanted a unicorn, and I knew I wanted some “undersea” designs.  I ended up at Embroidery Library  and chose from the “animals on the edge” category for both my clown fish

clownfish - ready tocome off the hoop

and my unicorn.

Ready to deliver - 1 Unicorn towel

I’m really pleased with the results.  I’ve only done applique on the embroidery machine one other time, for a baby bib, so there was a learning curve for me with this project.  (Note to my embroidery friends….sometimes I do break down a BUY designs….but ONLY for a really special project!!)

All wrapped up and ready to go

I read somewhere that if you don’t have embroidery software, you can load a sheet of paper in your hoop and “stitch out” the die line to make cutting the fabric for the applique easier.  I did that for the clownfish, but not for the unicorn.

I also read that if you put water soluble stabilizer (wss) on over the toweling, then do the first die line stitch, it will help to keep from snagging the towel, plus help with the sinking stitches.  I did that, and then once I set the applique fabric on top of the wss, I put a 2nd piece of wss over the applique fabric.  I think it really helped the overall stitching.

Another thing I did was use Floriani sticky back stabilizer, so I didn’t have to hoop the towels.  I also floated a piece of tear away under the hoop.  So, count the layers….4 stabilizers and the applique fabric.  I only had 2 issues with the stitching where I had a thread break and had to go back and restitch.  I am really tickled with the outcome.

I decided to add a piece of that soft “tender touch” to the back after the project was done, and I cleared away as much of the tear away and sticky back as I could.  The sticky back will eventually dissolve in the washing but the tender touch will stay in place.  I don’t know if you can see it, but I stitched the tender touch to the back of the towel, as the “glue” doesn’t really stick well in my opinion. (I’ve had it peel off of a cotton t-shirt in the first washing)

inside of hooded towel

I put it on the back, stitched around the design with a straight machine stitch, then trimmed it close to the edge, then pressed it in place.  This will keep the back of the design from scratching little faces and bodies.

I chose some other designs for the “undersea” towel to put along the edges –

Undersea motif hooded bath towel

The fish on the right is from Designs by JuJu – “Sassy Fish”.  I purchased that several years ago and don’t find it available now.  There were 22 steps in that little design, 6 fabrics.

Sassy Fish

They have a LOT of great designs, that would have worked well for this project.  I love Designs by JuJu  and have used many designs in the past.

The crab applique is from OhMyCS.  I had a challenge with it, because I did not cut the applique fabric perfectly. It came a little low and did not catch in the tack down stitching around the eyes.  I ended up adding some extra stitching on my sewing machine to catch the raw edges.  Also, the design had so many curves, I could not trim it well.  I figured those bits will ‘fray’ in the washer and give it “character”, so it will turn out ok.

Feeling crabby

Overall, I think they turned out cute.  Trimming applique on towels is a real BEAR! I left the wss in place when I started trimming, but removed it “too soon” I think.  Not perfect, but it “is a bath towel” and it “WILL” fray and still look ok. (Trying not to obsess any longer……where are my snippers…….breathe…..)

I am second guessing my “ribbon” decision, and may have to replace it “down the road” if it doesn’t stand the test of time.  I could not find any other unicorns that would work on the white towel.  (Next time I would choose a colored towel I think!)  Again….trying to stop obsessing……..

Unicorn towel and floral ribbons

Anybody that makes these to sell gets my respect!  If I was to make them and put in a “craft sale”, I wouldn’t charge less than $50 a piece, as there is a lot of time in the embroidery, and construction.   Then of course, I would be obsessing……looking for absolute perfection.

These were made with two “medium quality” bath towels from Big Lots, and one hand towel.   Of course, they are “priceless” in my opinion because I am making them for one of the grandchildren!

Time to deliver this afternoon!

Back to quilting……………what are you working on?

 

Grandma’s Kitchen – Block 11

Block 11 for Grandma’s Kitchen is called Peppermint Swirls.  Pattern is by Pat Sloan and can be found at http://www.ilovetomakequilts.com/2017/09/free-block-1125-grandmas-kitchen-sew-along-a-weekly-deal.html

Grandma's Kitchen Block 11

My peppermint swirl pieces still need the applique top stitching done.  They are “just fused” to the background piece.  When I get my Janome back, then I can do that stitching. I think I will color match the threads when I do the top stitching.

With each block, Pat tells stories of her memories of both of her grandmothers.  They are sweet stories, and really make me ponder on my own grandmothers. Pat’s grandma always had peppermints.  My Grandma Bessie always had lifesavers in her pocketbook.  I decided to go with the “peppermint swirl” after I thought about the block for a while.  Grandma Bessie always made ice cream with the leftover peppermint candy canes.

Grandma Bessie was the one that I knew the best. She lived about 150 miles away, and we saw her frequently.  I know that when I was really little she lived much closer and my older siblings say she really took care of all of us.  My mother was recovering from cancer following the birth of my youngest sister, and I was just too little to know much of what was going on. I was only 1 1/2 when my sister was born, and I presume my grandmother kept the ship afloat while mother had surgeries and radiation.  I have scant memories of toddler times.  I am told that my mother and grandmother took the 5 children on a trip to Wyoming, and along the way I contracted scarlet fever. I must have been about 3 years old at that time.  When we got home, all the children went to stay with my grandmother, while my mother cared for me in our home that had been quarantined by the health department.  I know that my grandmother made silk nightgowns for me, from my father’s WWII parachute.  I also know that the garments, linens and so forth all went into the incinerator in the back yard.  I remember lying on the sofa in the living room, under the big picture window in those silky nightgowns.  Grandma would dye them yellow, because it was my favorite color.

My best memories begin when I was probably elementary school age, and got to spend more one on one time with her.  By then, she lived in the Mojave desert, care taker of a ranch. It was a place where the “wealthy” people came on the weekends.  I don’t really know what work she did; but I do remember hiking in the hills, picking up arrowheads, and learning about rattle snakes and the like.  Grandma always carried a shovel with a sharp edge in the trunk of the car. She was a feisty woman, and there was not much she would not try to do on her own.  She was a “rock hound” and a collector of those pretty bottles that changed colors in the hot sun.  Her window sills were lined with the bottles she had gathered around the desert.

This photo was taken of her in 1973 or 1974. I remember she was excited to see my “new” car.  I was 17 or 18, and she was approaching 80.

And this photo was from the late 50’s, near her “new car”.  It’s funny, I think she had that same car until she quit driving! I look so tall next to my baby sister!

We had some lovely adventures in that old car, driving trips out in the desert to lava fields and dry lake beds, and to the base of Mount Whitney, and out to old abandoned gold mining towns. Why, as school age youngsters, we even went to the Senior Citizens center with her, and learned to play cards.  She really made each of the 5 children feel special in their own right. She was the typical grandma in an apron, cooking something wonderful for dinner, dishing up scoops of ice cream and tucking you in at night!

This is a fun project and brings up lots of lovely memories.

What’s happening in your sewing room this week?

 

A quieter week

I’ve had a couple of quiet days, and time to play a bit more with my Brother PE500 embroidery machine.   I made a few more bibs for the littlest grandchild and delivered them on Thursday when I went to babysit.  As I worked on these I was reminded how important it is (to me) to have an organized filing system.  I say this because I was having trouble “finding” the design that I was looking for.

When I download designs from a website, I try to print out the “color change sheet” at the same time. My intention is to always name the file something that is “close” to what it was called by the designer, and to include any “file code” names as part of the name. I have an embroidery download folder on my computer, and many, many, sub folders. I  break those sub folders down by “type”; for example, Holidays-Valentines Day/Christmas/Easter/St Patrick’s Day; or Animals; Food; Verses etc.  I place the color change sheet in a 3 ring binder in a similar way, using page dividers.  I am up to 4 – three ring binders!

Well – wouldn’t you know, I have a HEARTS folder and a Valentines folder.  Many of the HEARTS are NOT specific to Valentines day.  Darn if the file I was searching for didn’t land in the HEARTS folder, not the Valentines Day Folder.  I wasted a good deal of “stitching time” looking for the file.  (Like 3 days wasted….)

At one point, I gave up and I started with a St Patrick’s Day design, while I “looked” for the elusive Valentine/Heart file.  I did a little stitching and searching.  Finally I selected an alternate Valentine design and set it up to run.  Well in my haste, I had not “removed” the St Patrick’s Day design from the machine before I started the stitch out on the 2nd design.  1/2 way through the first color, I realised it was stitching out my St Patrick’s Day design all over again.  Well, you decide if you like it in pinks and purples instead of the greens!

February Bib Fun for Addy

I decided to just keep on stitching and while it was busy stitching; get the fabric prepped for an alternate Valentine!  So, 3 new bibs completed and that will be it for a while.  The littlest grandchild will be a year old next month and has quite a collection of “StitchingGrandma” bibs.  (Somewhere in the bib process in the last couple of weeks, I lost the great “Bandana” pattern, so she got traditional shaped bibs.  Clean up was in order at the end of this project; and again, the lost pattern was found and stored away properly!)

I took the new Singer Featherweight 221 for a spin on Wednesday.  My quilt bee – Material Girls – had an all day sit & sew; and that new little machine had a great debut.  Tuesday night we got her oiled up (must be 90 oiling / lube  points). She is clean as a whistle.  Had a few challenges “winding” a bobbin, and had to engage the hubby to help.  Got 3 bobbins ready with his help and determined what was causing the trouble.  He adjusted the belt a tad and it worked much better.  (Nice to have a guy with a mechanical mind helping out).

Today, the LED light I ordered arrived (Thank you EBay!).  I installed it and am pleased with the brightness and lower temperature.  The Ebay seller I purchased from had a few photo’s showing the difference in temperature on the light- from 172 degrees on the incandescent  bulb to 74 degrees with the LED bulb.  That will save an accidental burn on a wrist!  The difference in the light was significant – from 139 lumens to 205 lumens.  Hubby said the bulbs look similar to automotive tail lights. He thinks that the new bulb will last a long time, and because it is LED, will be less likely to break due to the handling of the machine transport case.  I will be ordering 2 belts soon, just to have one on hand and to replace the current belt which is at it’s limit of adjustment.   All in all, I am most pleased with this little machine, which was made in January of 1948. She stitches well and should be a fun travel machine!

I have assembled a tote ready to “travel” with the Autumn Jubilee project material.  I can just “grab & go” to a sit and sew, and not have to “think” about what project I am going to take to work on, or worry over what to assemble ahead of time.  (One of the Bee members said this is how she operates and the only time the project gets worked on is at a bee)  I did manage to get 6 more blocks made on Wednesday using the Autumn Jubilee pattern.  I have lots of pieces cut and ready to assemble. My intention is to make 6 – 8 placemats with the lovely leaf pattern. Once I get a “few” more leaves made I can start building the placemats.  At this rate, it will be August before I can set the table; but the timing will be just about right for this project.  I like the idea of “no stress” on which project to take.  The fun of a going to a sit & sew or quilters bee is the company.  I like being able to dedicate a whole day (or 2 or 3) and not have any other tasks taking me away from the fun!  (Note – the Autumn Jubilee project is from a pattern by Carole – From My Carolina Home)

I worked on my Talkin’ Turkey blocks again Wednesday night and again this afternoon.  I have 4 left to add the corner string blocks to. They are “pinned” and ready to stitch.  The Talkin’ Turkey pattern is by Bonnie Hunter and can be found in the String Fling Book. Bonnie Hunter’s blog

I will need to  square up the blocks next.  I am thinking about how I am going to tackle the  “next round” which will include a LOT of flying geese (8 per block x 30 blocks= 240 flying geese units.)  The pattern by Bonnie Hunter suggests you use the Easy Angle and Companion Angle ruler for the Flying Geese or your “favorite method” .

I plan to use my new Square in a Square tool/method –OPTION 3…by Jodi Barrows.  Using the Square in a Square tool by Jodi Barrows,  flying geese will be done with strips and squares; and if I do the math right; it is done with 120 squares and LOTS of strips!! I just have to sit down with Bonnie Hunters pattern and find the “finished unit size) and then check my Square in a Square book and the chart and figure out what size squares and strips I need to start!  More to follow! I like the “methodical” building of units for a big quilt.  240 Flying Geese doesn’t scare me after I did that quilt last winter with 1400+ half square triangles.  I will be making about 4 “test units” just to make sure I have them sized properly before I begin!

Check out the video on you – tube if you have never seen this ruler or method.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GekwRp8_cGU     and    www.squareinasquare.com 

What fun things are you working on??   What is your favorite method for flying geese ?  Do you have any “new tools” or “toys” ??  Do tell………………

Baby Fun

Last Sunday I stopped in after church to see my granddaughter and her parents.  I delivered the “leftovers” from a crockpot meal I had taken to church; and arrived in time to see the granddaughter up and about and playing.  I had SO much fun with her for 20 minutes or so, before it was time for her nap.  She is 10 1/2 months old and laughs and giggles so much. I hadn’t seen her in a few weeks, because she was “vacationing”.  On the way out to go home, my daughter asked me for a little sewing repair job.  I got that done yesterday, and along with the quick repair, I made a few more bibs.  I had been in the store  called Tuesday Morning on Monday, and tripped over a package of Babyville PUL fabric. The price was terrific – 3 fat quarters for $3.99.  I purchased BOTH packages that were on the shelf.  This product usually sells for about $9.99. I couldn’t wait to turn out a few new bibs.

Bibs for Addy

Reverse side of February bibs

My daughter picked out the cotton fabric from my fat quarter stash a while back, and I just had to pick from them something that these fun PUL pieces would work with!  This batch of bibs is quilted with the warm and natural cotton batting behind the cotton print. Then the bib is assembled and top stitched.  I don’t like to do a lot of stitching on the PUL fabric, as it reduces the waterproofing that is the primary feature.

Today, after my 2nd day of “Second Time Around” sorting, ironing, measuring folding was done, I thought I would play with an “applique embroidery pattern” I downloaded from Hatched In Africa.com  ( http://www.hatchedinafrica.com/detail.aspx?id=3804&c=49&sc= ).  This adorable FREE pattern – Easter Applique Medley,  was one of several I downloaded today.

So, I set to work on another bib – I decided to “not cut out the bib shape” until I was finished with the embroidery.  Less hassle hooping was my logic.

You can see yellow chalk where I marked the “center” of the bib.

First applique project

I’ve never done any Embroidery with applique before and this was so much fun.  The design has stops for you to add your fabrics as you go along.

Success with Applique

I was really pleased with the result.  After the embroidery applique was completed, I cut out the fabric, batting and backing for the bib.  I quilted this one too before assembly with the PUL fabric.

Flip side of the applique bib

I top stitched after it was assembled. Just need to add the snaps, and it is ready to wear!

Spring Chick Bib Feb 2017

Wait….Easter is a couple of months away….Time enough to wash the bib and get the yellow chalk marks off before she wears it.  This Stitching Grandma better figure out a Valentine and St Patrick’s Day and a 1st Birthday bib before she sports her SPRING CHICK !!

I will definitely be doing more applique work with the embroidery machine, as long as free patterns are available for me to download. This was really fun and I am happy with my “first time” !!   If you like machine embroidery, do go check out Hatched In Africa . com and the cute patterns they offer.  There are lots of “freebies” and once a week on Friday they offer a free design too.

My next “sewing for baby” project is to take the “brown paper pattern” I traced during my visit, and duplicate a “food bib” with pocket. The current “meal time bib” has long sleeves and goes on much like an artists apron.  Another learning opportunity!

Hope you are having fun with your projects!

Fabric books for baby

Years and years ago, my mother used a product call Tri-Chem.  It was often referred to as “Liquid embroidery”.   It was a “paint in a tube” with a roller ball end. She would “hoop” items that had a stenciled design, and paint over the stencil.  I remember the hoops she used had blotting paper behind the hoop.  Gosh, Mom had containers of colors and accessories, and she made aprons, pot holders, placemats, toaster covers etc.  I still have an apron that she painted. ( I recall she may have been a demonstrator/dealer for the product back in the 60’s.)   One other thing she did was make fabric books for my children with Tri-Chem. Not long ago, I was visiting and my granddaughters still have the “doggy” book, that belonged to their mother. (Yes, Tri-Chem is still available). This particular book was made in 1979, on a pellon type product and is “highly washable”.  The doggy book has made it thru 2 generations of babies.  I think my Mom would love that!

Among other thing Mom would make for my children were fabric panel books and dolls. We have Christmas fabric dolls that come out every year.   When my grandchildren were coming along, I decided to make the fabric books too.  Yes, it feels nostalgic. My mom never got to meet these great-grandchildren.

Honestly, at the point I made the “fabric panel books”, the grandchildren were putting everything in their mouths, and books made of paper were at serious risk of damage.   So, when one daughter was decorating for Christmas this year, out came the Christmas fabric panel books.  Her children are beyond the age of these books for any reason other than nostalgia. It is fun, pulling out those things every year that remind us of years gone by.

I have continued to purchased book panels over the years because they are so fun to make. There have been some beautiful designs printed on children’s fabric book panels too.

This year, with a new granddaughter in the family, I decided to make her some fabric books.  She LOVES books, and has several commercially made books, that come with teethers and such.  For the first book, I decided I would use my embroidery machine and just make a random picture book.   I had fun finding  bright designs that I could stitch out on various solid color fabrics.  (Besides – her mother and aunt were the givers of all that embroidery thread last year!)

Addison's book

As I did the embroidery, you can see that I learned a few things along the way.  In the following photo, I learned that my fabric just kept pulling and pulling when I did the cat. It had a heavy stitch count, and I had 3 layers of stabilizers.  I am wondering if it was poor digitizing. (Every stitch of the fur kept going back to the edge of the design). So, the cat is the ONE page I am not excited about.

Turtle and cat

The turtle was a much better design, same stabilizer set up, and so smooth!  Like I said, a learning process.

Caterpiller and Train

I learned that the “source” where you obtain your designs makes a huge difference in the final outcome too.

Robin and Dog

Fawn and Ladybug

Guitar and Duck

Bear and Horse

Butterfly and Flower

The end…..back cover

Back cover Addy's book

I spent several weeks stitching out designs.  My limit was 2 per day.  I went though LOTS of stabilizer and thread doing these pages but it was SO much fun.

Last week, I bought a foam pellon product at the fabric store to use between the pages. Construction of the book with the foam left me some lessons learned. Next time I get this bright idea, I will remember to not make the foam as wide as the page, keep it out of the spine, and completely turn the pages rightside out and close the stitching on the spine edge. I used binding to cover the raw spine edges. I knew better…just didn’t think it through. The other reason is for ease of “STITCHING” the pages together into a book. I had all those layers PLUS the foam and my machine PROTESTED!! I had to go thru with the handwheel to join the pages into the book. OOPS. Then of course, that binding on top (blue) had to be hand stitched down as the machine was NOT going through 4 more layers. Lessons learned.

When I managed to get this book assembled, I got out those other wonderful panels I had purchased, and got busy putting them together.

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I used the foam in one of these books (the Christmas mouse) and fusible fleece in the other two books. I like the foam best, but the fleece worked! These were fun to put together.

My “book making” is complete for this Christmas, and I am sure there will be future projects where my lessons learned will be put to use.  I think back to the “liquid embroidery” my mother did, the hand embroidery my sister does, and the machine embroidery that I am doing.  Whatever your method, I think what is important is you are enjoying the process.  As I think back I know that I didn’t give proper appreciation at the time for those things my mother made.   As I have learned various crafts, I have figured out how hard she worked at her projects.  Those small things I have left from her I do appreciate now.   Life lessons to share I suppose.  I hope she is looking down from Heaven and seeing that I do now appreciate all her time and energy and crafty goodness.  A handmade gift is really a gift of LOVE.    

Wishing you a Christmas full of Joy and LOVE!

Merry Christmas!

A week away…………Ready for Santa!

We are just 1 week away from the celebration of Christmas.  I had a special project I have been working on.  Now that it has been delivered, I can tell you about it.

For years, my family has had lovely green velvet stockings. Years ago, my oldest sister made stockings for each of her sibling’s families; and as the family grew, she added stockings.   My children loved their  stockings made by their aunt, and when they started their own married lives, they took their stockings to their new homes. One daughter decided that the new brother-in-law law / husbands in the family deserved hand-made stockings.  She worked with her talented friends and made 3.  Then, the babies started to arrive; and I gifted my  Mom & Dad stockings to the first daughter,  and I have been making the stockings for the grandchildren as they come along. I didn’t put any names on those stockings when I made them, as I don’t hand embroider.   A couple of years ago, my daughter sent me the kids stockings back, and I was able to embroider their names on the stockings with my embroidery machine, and send them back in time for Christmas

This year, the newest granddaughter needed a stocking.   I decided on deep red velvet for the “cuffs” of the stocking and dug through my supplies of cording etc.  I matched my embroidery thread to the gold cording for the names.  

I had “just enough” of the dark green velvet to cut out 3 new stockings – so the NEW Mom & Dad are getting new stockings to match. 

stockings

 

I did a production line sewing marathon yesterday, stitching out the names on the red velvet; putting the cording in for the bottom of the cuff.  

I referred back to a blog post I had read recently about making a LINED stocking with a cuff, and “no raw edges  – tutorial for a stocking by Cluck Cluck Sew   (Gosh I love people who write great tutorials.)  My cuffs are a little different that the tutorial because of the cording and the name.  (Test fitted with pins, name was upside down…duh moment……)

Anyway, the tutorial worked out well.  I used muslin for the lining. Nothing fancy, but won’t be bothered if a little chocolate melts in them.  The lining can be pulled out far enough to spot wash if needed.  I made my own paper pattern years ago for the size/shape of the stocking boot.

I think these are the best of the stockings I have made over the years.  The new parents were surprised too!  Now, a week away from Santa doing his duty!  stockings-for-fitz

This is a fun family tradition, and I do have other green and gold velvet on hand.  Since I gave away my “MOM” stocking 8 years ago; maybe I should make a Grandma stocking ………  Wondering if Santa would start to stop by again and fill it?

What ever your projects are, I hope you are having a good time with making them. Merry Christmas!

Projects for Christmas

If you have been a reader for any part of the past four years, you may have seen some of these projects I have made as Christmas gifts.  I am compiling them all together to share because my friend Maria Shell – will be linking up. Maria is a fantastic fiber artist, living in Alaska.  Her blog – Tales of a Stitcher – is full of color and energy and ideas.  I find it interesting how our paths connected in the blog world, and have had the opportunity to meet her twice in person. The first year I had a blog, I went to Houston to the International Quilt Festival, and Maria made sure I knew where and how to find her. This past year, Maria was available to speak and teach at my guild (Ocean Waves Quilt Guild – Lewes DE). It was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect in person again.  So, when she asked me if I would share my holiday projects, I decided I would!

I went back through my previous posts, digging thru the photo’s stored looking for things I had made as Christmas gifts.

Back in 2012, I decided to make a “floor checkerboard” for the grandkids.

Marked a silver stitching line on the black border.

Marked a silver stitching line on the black border.

Top stitched around the outside of the checker so you could SEE it!! Helps it to stand out.

Top stitched around the outside of the checker so you could SEE it!! Helps it to stand out.

More details on that post   Floor Checkerboard    (Now it is time to make some chess pieces for that board –  I have some in mind from an embroidery website).

The following year, I updated the Christmas stockings using my embroidery machine.  These stockings were over the course of several years, as the family grew.  My sewing skill have improved somewhat since the first efforts.

Updated the big kids stockings and made a new one for the youngest!

Updated the big kids stockings and made a new one for the youngest!

More details on the   Stockings  post.     I have a stocking to make this Christmas for the newest family member.

Then, of course, are the wonderful Artful Oven Mitts that I made using the pattern that Maria had sent me.  They were SO fun.  (I really enjoyed looking at the scraps as I “made” fabric, remembering where each piece originated.)

Artful Oven Mitts

Artful Oven Mitts

Naturally, I wrote a blog post (or 2) about them – this link is to my Production Line post.

In 2014 I was a busy Grandma.  My grandchildren were living out of the area, and I wanted to make them something that I could “easily ship”.  I tracked down a panel by Moda, designed by Angela Yolston  for FLAT DOLLS.  I had SO much fun with this project.  Flats Dolls  post.  (Note – this panel was HARD to find!)

And of course – the dolls needed a house! Flats Doll House post.  Link to the pattern is in that post.  I imagine you could use it for any “flat doll” or paper doll. It is a great little storage container for those items too.

 

The living room panel

The living room panel

My favorite type of gift wrap for the grandkids –


I love to follow the pattern information that you can find on Missouri Star Quilt Company You Tube Video – Tube Pillow Case – Missouri Star video .

I also made quillows for the grandkids one year – I used fleece, and added a little “hood” and hand pockets on the end, so they could “wrap up” and stay warm ! Details on this post – Fleece Quillows

Last year for Christmas, I made “slip covers” for the sofa pillows as a gift – Star pillows post.

Star pillows

Star pillows

This year, I have been busy making bibs for the youngest-though not for Christmas.

Fall fashion bibs
I’ve been posting off and on about them and other fall projects here – Bibs and more post.  Table runners have been a highlight for me this fall, and I have made 3, plus some placemats. One of the 3 will be a gift, so no pictures of it yet.  I am working on this year’s secret project for the youngest grandchild also. I told her mommy that there will be NO plastic toys from this Grandma this year.  It involves the embroidery machine and I won’t post pictures until AFTER Christmas. I gave her mommy a sneak peak but don’t want to spoil the surprise – especially if the embroidery machine jams up or breaks!  So far,  I have stitched out 5 of the elements, over 100,000 stitches and at least  100 thread changes!  (I am having fun with that great thread my kids gifted me last year!)

What are you working on that you can “whisper” about? What was your favorite “gift project” in the past ? I would LOVE to know.   Be sure to check out Maria’s blog Tales of a Stitcher- and follow.  She is going to link up lots of other gift projects from people who follow her.

Happy Day after Thanksgiving

Well, it has been a busy but successful week. Since you last read, I managed to pull together the luncheon at church with plenty of food and hungry people fed. My chicken and dumplings were delicious, and there was just enough left in the crock pot to get me lunch a couple of days this week. I also had a nice gathering Tuesday of the Queen Bee’s. Though we were small in number there had been plenty of progress made on the monthly UFO challenge.  I put photo’s of their projects up on my Facebook page –

I had fun getting ready for the ladies – deciding on where to set my Autumn Jubilee creations.

First Autumn Jubilee runner

The “first” Autumn Jubilee runner fit perfectly on the top of the buffet.

Autumn Jubilee Tablescape

The “second” Autumn Jubilee runner I made a tad longer, and it worked well on the dining room table.

Autumn Jubilee placemat tablescape

Then I decided to use the placemats on top of my 2 treadle sewing machines in the dining room.

Autumn Jubilee Placemat Tablescape

Which of course, I had to remove so the quilters could see the machines hiding underneath.  One of these days, I am going to thread those machines and do a little stitching!

And then of course, the big day on Thursday, with Thanksgiving.  I was asked to bring the sausage stuffing; the cranberry sauce and an apple pie.  I did some of my cooking on Wednesday and the rest on Thursday before traveling a very short distance to enjoy the afternoon with family.

I posted and shared to Facebook my favorite Cosmopolitan Cranberry Sauce (must be over 21 to enjoy).

Cranberry sauce

The recipe can be found on Epicurious . com .  The adults seem to really love this recipe.  I have made this for the last several Thanksgivings, from fresh cranberries.  This year, I doubled the recipe, and think the “doubling” of the liquids was a bit “much”.  At least, I felt that way when I made it Wednesday.   You introduce the vodka and triple sec into the cooled cooked berries.  I felt like it was too watery.  I left it to chill over night and it did thicken up, but not as much as I had hoped. Thursday morning, I strained the chilled cranberry sauce and drained off into a kettle the excess liquid and reduced it down to a more syrup like consistency.  After the syrup cooled, I reincorporated it back into the cranberry sauce and refrigerated for several more hours.  It did help with the “less fluid” look of the cranberry sauce.   And, there was only a little bit left to have as leftovers, so I guess it was well received.  So, maybe I boiled off the booze, but I think the overnight “steeping” allowed for much absorption by the berries.  If I double batched again, I think I would not fully double the liquor.  All was well and those that eat cranberry sauce seem to love this recipe.  Of course, now with a little one in the family, I may be asked to forgo the favored recipe for one that is made in a more traditional fashion.

My son-in-law likes apple pie, so I did a deep dish.  It is fun to get out the gadgets when it comes to cooking. The Apple-peeler-corer -slicer device is a Pampered Chef item, as is the big measuring cup behind it.

Apple peeler corer slicer in action

Apple pie prep

Setting the peeling blade depth just right takes some practice, and if your apple is odd shaped, sometimes you get left with a bit of peel on the slice.  I like Granny Smith apples for pie the best because they “hold up” to the cooking.  I used the Pampered chef stone “Deep Dish baker” for the pie, and was surprised how much my crust shrunk in places and how much these apples “cooked down”.  My next pie (note to self) will be stuffed with even more filling!  Epicurious had a great article called How to make the Best Apple Pie . It talked about the liquid in apples and how to use that to your best advantage.  I followed their suggestion, and no soggy bottom pie!  (It also helped when it came to those cranberries!)

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We had a delightful  time and enjoyed everything.  My granddaughter was decked out for dinner in  one of my latest bib creations.  (I got to sew on Wednesday, and after I finished up the table runner I was working on, I got busy making 4 new bibs!!)  I can’t believe I failed to take a picture of her “first Thanksgiving”.  She did look adorable in her Turkey football bib!  (The triangle shape is so stylish when worn, and great for a teething baby; but not the “best” for keeping mashed potatoes off the clothes or out of the hair!)

Fall fashion bibs

flannel backed bibs

Traditional bibs

Flannel backsides

There was to be some fun with the food and the eating at Thanksgiving.

Turkey platter

My daughter made this creative platter!  It was hard to reach in and spoil the design!  I can report it was delicious!  I had some  fun while cooking, taking and sending pictures back and forth with my daughter who is many states away.  My saute pan full of onions, garlic and celery was aromatic, but the picture doesn’t do it justice.  Somehow stuffing never made the photo book!  (It was however tasty.)  Both daughters are fun to hang out in the kitchen and share cooking duties. They share their recipes, menus and ideas freely.  So, even if we are far away from each other, it is like we spent some part of the day together.

Today is “my day”.  I have some sewing that needs to get done before tomorrow – TRAIN pillowcases.   No black Friday shopping – no mystery quilt (either one) for me !  Then the next 2 days are TRAIN days —2016-train-club-flyer

Maybe I will see you this weekend.  It’s worth a drive if you in the mid-Atlantic area.

 

note – The Autumn Jubilee pattern is by Carole – From My Carolina Home